Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.
My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?
Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.
Just as I am about to hit "delete," my boy walks in the room.
"Do you know anything about this picture?" I ask him.
I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.
"I took that of you in Tahoe," he says. "You looked so beautiful lying there. I couldn't help it, Mom."
"You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures," I say.
"I know," he says. "But Mom, seriously, look how pretty you look!"
I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.
My daughter walks over and takes a look.
"That could be a postcard, Mom," she says smiling. "You're so beautiful. I love it."
I take a deep breath.
This is exactly what I needed.
My default mode is to see and focus on my flaws and imperfections. I'm starting to see a bit more.
I still see my dimply, fat thighs.
I also see a mom collapsed on the shore who just explored the lake for hours with her children.
I still see chubby arms.
I also see the arms of a mom who just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn't hurt.
I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.
I also see an adventurous mom who loves her children something fierce.
Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It's not something that will ever go away for me. I don't have a naturally slim body. Never have.
Right now I'm the heaviest I've been in 10 years. Yet...
I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I'm running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.
Yes. You heard me.
"I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and bright!"
Well... not exactly. But something like that.
Is it because I'm getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it's because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.
Really, it doesn't matter.
I don't hate my body anymore.
That's huge for me to admit, and hard to even wrap my mind around.
I'm not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for, because I want to be around awhile.
Right now, though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.
Thank you, kids.
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